When it comes to commercial solar panels, most businesses think of rooftop arrays on warehouses, or panels put out on vacant land that isn’t being used. However, when it comes to generating large amounts of power via commercial solar panels, one of the biggest resources in the U.S. is parking lots. As Urban Land pointed out back in 2011, parking lots are an ideal location for solar panels. They take up a lot of space, they tend to be open to the sky, and they are literally everywhere. It’s no wonder that, at least along the east and west coast, businesses have been installing solar panel carports and canopies with enthusiasm.
But of all the renewable energy options available for commercial enterprises, why this particular solution? What does it offer? Well…
#1: Constructive Use of Space
Parking lots are big, empty swaths of land, but their purpose is to store cars while customers are shopping. So even if a parking lot is empty a lot of the time, you need to leave it empty in case customers want to use it.
Solar panel canopies, though, don’t take up space being used by the cars. They’re typically a dozen feet in the air. So customers can still park, and the business who owns the parking lot can use it as a power source.
#2: Shade and Comfort
We’ve all been there. You go out shopping on a bright summer day, and you spend a few hours picking out some clothes, getting lunch, and maybe making an impulse buy or two. You walk back to your car, open the door, and are hit in the face with a furnace blast of hot air. While you were inside in the air conditioning, the sun was turning your car into an oven, and now you have to deal with all that built-up heat.
Or you would, if there was nothing giving your car shade, and blocking it from the sun. That’s another advantage of solar canopies; they’re a two-for-one deal as far as customers are concerned. They get the direct advantage of parking in the shade, out of the rain, and even out of the snow if it’s winter time, and the business that owns the parking lot gets to produce their own power.
Businesses always have to keep an eye on the bottom-line. Electricity use is one of the costs of doing business, which is why so many corporations are investing in green energy. If you can make electricity yourself, and you can make it for a lower cost than you’d buy it from a utility, then that is a smart business move. Especially if there are government incentives to help reduce the initial cost of installation, and if there is a boost to your reputation among your customers. As the cost of solar panels drops, and more people than ever before install them, it’s becoming a smart business expense for companies who want to do the most with what they have available.
What kind of services would your business like to offer with their solar canopies? Will you store the energy it generates, powering your business, and the parking lot lights using green energy? Will you make the power available for customers who drive electric cars as a way to entice more people to come shop? These are all options, and as technology and trends grow and change, there will be even more of them.
These are just a few reasons solar canopy parking lots remain a good investment, and why more and more businesses are building them. For more information on solar power, and how commercial enterprises are embracing it, simply contact us today!